Published February 23, 2006
George M. McKelvey, former mayor of Youngstown, former Mahoning County treasurer, former Youngstown council member and Democrat turncoat, has filed petitions to run for the Democratic Party nomination for county commissioner. Why is McKelvey, who has been out of office for only two months, returning to the campaign trail? Here are several possible reasons:
1. He wants to be George Tablack's boss. Tablack, director of the Office of Management and Budget, returned recently from Florida after realizing he had made a mistake by quitting his position as county auditor and moving to the Sunshine State. Commissioners David Ludt, who is running for re-election this year, and Anthony Traficanti made Tablack's return possible by offering him the OMB position even though they had previously said that they weren't going to fill it. Commissioner John McNally objected to the secrecy that surrounded Tablack's hiring.
If McKelvey succeeds in ousting Ludt and ultimately wins the commissioner's seat, he will finally have gotten the better of Tablack. Talk about an ego trip.
2. He needs something to do while he waits for his good buddy President George Bush to find him a job in the federal government. After all, McKelvey's endorsement in 2004 of Republican Bush and his many public appearances with the president has made him persona non grata with Democrats locally and around the state, which means his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for commissioner is an exercise in futility.
His explanation for endorsing Bush not only rings hollow, it's downright ridiculous. McKelvey says he backed the Republican because he wanted help for the Mahoning Valley. None has been forthcoming. He should immediately disabuse himself of the notion that his endorsement resulted in the Youngstown Air Reserve Base in Vienna Township being kept off the Pentagon's closing list. If anyone deserves credit, it is U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
3. After serving as the chief executive officer of a city with a $100 million a year budget, it's impossible to work for someone even if that someone happens to be a prominent businessman who is a friend.
4. McKelvey missed being in the spotlight. It's a major adjustment not to be able to pick up the telephone and have reporters in your office in a matter of minutes.
5. His candidacy for the Democratic nomination is a political scam, because if he is successful, he will immediately announce that he's actually a Republican but couldn't very well run as one seeing as how the chances of a Republican winning are slim to none.
6. He felt sorry for the press having to cover boring candidates, and decided to spice up our lives.
Who knows, perhaps President Bush will come to Mahoning County to campaign for his pal. Now that will be a major news story.